President Donald Trump on Sunday tore into former President Barack Obama, calling him “an incompetent president” after Obama appeared to criticize his response to the coronavirus crisis during two commencement speeches a day earlier.
Asked about Obama’s remarks, Trump told reporters on the White House lawn that he “didn’t hear it” before proceeding to bash his predecessor as “grossly incompetent.”
President Trump: "[President Obama] was an incompetent president. That's all I can say. Grossly incompetent." pic.twitter.com/Cw6CwgxUrT— The Hill (@thehill) May 17, 2020
“Look, he was an incompetent president,” Trump said. “That’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent.”
It’s unclear if Trump was referring to a specific incident in his accusation. The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Obama delivered two virtual commencement addresses Saturday, the first for graduates of historically black colleges and universities, followed hours later by a prime time special for high school seniors.
“This pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said during his first speech. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
In his second address, he took aim at “so-called grown-ups” with “fancy titles” who have “screwed up” the country by acting irresponsibly.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think,” Obama said. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up. I hope that instead, you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others.”
Many viewers interpreted the comments as a thinly veiled attack on Trump’s leadership.
Congrats to the high school Class of 2020, as well as to the teachers, coaches, and most of all, parents and family who’ve guided you along the way. Thanks for letting me be part of your big day! pic.twitter.com/RjYvHs2BhC— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 17, 2020
Until recently, Obama has largely refrained from publicly taking shots at Trump. But earlier this month, Obama reportedly bashed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a phone call with some of his former White House aides.
Trump, however, repeatedly attacked Obama throughout his eight years in office, and has continued to do so since winning the 2016 election. Most recently, Trump has been obsessed with pushing the “Obamagate” conspiracy theory, claiming — without evidence — that Obama led a “coup” to sabotage his presidency.
When a Washington Post reporter last week asked Trump to explain “Obamagate,” the president refused.
“You know what the crime is,” Trump said. “The crime is obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”